COVID 19 has been the talk of the town ever since its inception and man does it know how to make an entry and steal the thunder! The problem with a pandemic is not only the pandemic but what comes along with it as well. A major part of the population has never experienced it, nor have they ever thought about battling it. When the survival seems bleak that is when the greatest gift of humanity kicks in and we start accepting and adapting. After having innumerable meetings and a lot of uplifting conversations we had to accept the inevitable reality that this virus is here to stay, and we must work around it.
This was also a great time for the Montessori community all around the world to come together and brainstorm and come up with ideas that best suit the situation. Maria Montessori, having been through a pandemic herself knew about the difficulties faced while living through a pandemic and that never shook her philosophy of work. Montessori methodology does not depend on only physical material available in the environment, which are carefully thought over and designed in a specialised way, but other materials can be substituted as well. A major part of the pedagogy, however, are the observations which help to plan future course of action which was not possible virtually. This gave us a great platform to work with the parents and build a stronger bond in the partnership to help the child.
The year normally begins with the child first adapting to the environment and getting comfortable and then the work is presented and then begin the observation to see where the child’s curiosity leads them. As we moved closer towards starting virtual session we kept wondering as to what can be done about this key aspect which is when we had to trust the partnership with the parents as they become our eyes at home which brings us to the next step, which was to communicate what and how to observe. The workshop conducted throughout the year were a sneak peak of what happens in the class but more so often the most important aspect of observation is left out as that in itself is a huge topic in itself and no matter how much time we spend on it, we’d just scrape the tip of the iceberg.
A decision had to be made to best support the child and that lead to us then educating the partners through the process of observation which would not only give a better perspective but also help us plan through. The webinars held on some of the frequently asked topics before the virtual sessions started were a great help as that was helping the parents gear up for what followed. In the weeks ahead, the conference calls were a great help and the conversations helped the parents understand our point of view and the suggestions made were a great help as well.
During these challenging times it was great to see that despite the different challenges that each one of us faced we are working through some of those challenges if not all to make learning a joyful experience. As time goes on, we are sure that this bond will only grow stronger and the parents have enough resources to carry out the Montessori philosophy at home to best support the child. I would like to end this note knowing that the parents are genuinely trying to work with us, and we shall come out of this with some great memories.